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U.S. Elections 2012 and Disability: Fit to Work, Valued Citizen, or Simply a Burden

  • Published: 2012-09-04 (Revised/Updated 2014-11-28) : Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss : Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: For People with Disabilities the decision of who to vote for is one that may bring dire consequences.

Quote: "The very same year of 2006, only 13% of Americans with Disabilities of working age held a full-time job."

Main Document

The election cycle is upon Americans who face a choice in who will take office as the New Year approaches. For People with Disabilities, the decision of who to vote for is one that may bring dire consequences considering the vast difference in approaches towards our population on the parts of the candidates. What it may come down to is the records of actions taken by Representatives, as well as their individual demeanors towards the population of People with Disabilities in America.

2012 United States Presidential Election - The United States 57th quadrennial presidential election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. President Barack Obama is running for a second and final term during this election. His major challenger is former Massachusetts Governor, Republican Mitt Romney. Other candidates include: Gary Johnson, former New Mexico Governor and Libertarian Party nominee; Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee.

The statistics concerning People with Disabilities in America over different administrations are very revealing.

America, in the year 2006, had a very different form of representation than it does today. The leadership at the time held its own perspectives towards People with Disabilities and the statistics related to us reflect the demeanor of the Representatives in office at the time. For example, one out of every four people with disabilities in 2006 lived below the poverty line. More than 75% of us had an individual income of less than $20,000, compared to $32,870 for people without disabilities.

The very same year of 2006, only 13% of Americans with Disabilities of working age held a full-time job. Of the adults with severe forms of disabilities in 2006, only 45% had private health insurance, while the remaining population of people with severe disabilities was on Medicare or Medicaid. Even though some level of effort was made to, 'level the playing field,' the reality is that during this administration educational opportunities for students with disabilities were certainly not adequate.

Schools in 2006 were only required to provide tools which were sufficient to assist students with disabilities to keep up with their education; a number of these students continued to struggle. A common 9 year old would be in the fourth grade for example, while a 9 year old with disabilities was more than half likely at 61% to be in the third grade, and another third were likely to be in the second grade. For high school students in 2006, the majority of 15 year olds with disabilities were not in class with their peers in the tenth grade. The overwhelming majority were in ninth grade and more than a fourth were in the eighth grade.

People with Disabilities Today

Where are People with Disabilities today in America? Who are we as the current administration has been in office? How have we fared during this administration? The statistics might surprise you.

The statistics related to People with Disabilities, income, poverty, employment, and education during the current administration may also surprise you. While considering who to vote for, it is important to understand how we have done under the leadership that is present in office in America. For example:

The year 2010 found an estimated 20.9% of people with disabilities between the ages of 21 and 64 employed full-time. In other words, out of 18,348,600 people who experienced a form of disability of working age who did not live in an institution - a mere 3,842,300 of them worked full-time in 2010. The same year, an estimated 27% of people with a form of disability of working age in America lived below the poverty line. What this means is that out of more than 18 million working-age Americans with Disabilities, nearly 5 Million of them lived in poverty in 2010.

The war in Afghanistan continues, while the war in Iraq has now ended. The year 2010 in America found an estimated 18.4% of veterans between the ages of 21 and 64 reporting a VA service-connected disability status. What this means is that out of 12,401,400 veterans who did not live in an institution in 2010 and were of working age - 2,286,700 of them experienced a form of service-connected disability.

How Does Your Government Perceive You

No matter how you choose to interpret the statistics presented in this article in relation to the administrations that have led America over the past, it is important to consider how the Representatives who are running for office during this election cycle perceive you today. The two major parties in America have different perspectives related to the management of programs related to People with Disabilities and the question can only arise - how have other governments chosen to deal with such programs? With a major, global financial crisis occurring over the past several years, governments are seeking the assistance of corporations, one of which is Atos.

The perspective among some potential leaders running for office in America is to offer People with Disabilities, 'vouchers,' for health care. Other potential leaders openly complain about the costs related to the programs many People with Disabilities rely upon for survival. Would these leaders reach for a company such as Atos to manage the costs of programs related to People with Disabilities in America? After all, Atos is a global corporation.

Given the statistics, would either party matter? Is it the ongoing presence of Representatives who have been in office repeatedly that is the issue? Will you, as a Person with Disabilities, find yourself being asked if you are fit to work, a valued citizen, or merely a burden should the same Representatives who have been hanging around politics for years on end get re-elected? Will you find yourself having to deal with a corporation such as Atos in America if certain politicians are elected

These are the questions many People with Disabilities must ask this election cycle. Please bear in mind the fact that the majority of the politicians running for office are either millionaires or billionaires, with little understanding of what it means to be a Person with Disabilities living in America today. Despite an incredible lack of experience or understanding, these are the Representatives who will make major, life-changing decisions concerning your life as a Person with Disabilities. Vote wisely.


Atos Healthcare - Disability Assessments

"Atos Healthcare conducts disability assessments, using criteria set out by government, and provides the DWP with independent advice which is used by a DWP Decision Maker, along with any other information they have received, to decide on your entitlement to benefit. "

New technology powering the London 2012 Paralympic Games

"For the first time at the Paralympic Games, the Commentator Information System (CIS), which has been used previously at the Olympic Games, will provide broadcasters with instantaneous result reports for five Paralympic sports, including swimming and wheelchair basketball. The results are through so quickly that commentators will see them before they even hear the roar of the crowd. To put that into perspective, the fastest Paralympic man in the world runs the 100m in 10.85 seconds. Atos relays the results to 4 billion TV viewers over 30 times faster."

Atos and the U.K. Disabled Protests Regarding Disability Benefit Assessments

"Atos have come under fierce scrutiny for their handling of the U.K.'s DWP's £100m a year contract to assess whether claimants for incapacity benefits are "fit for work". Up to 150 disability rights campaigners have been protesting outside IT firm Atos, which carries out "fit for work" assessments for the U.K. government."

The World Bank and People with Disabilities

"As soon as we brought that very simple fact to the fore, colleagues in all the regions have come together with interdisciplinary groups to ensure that in the projects in which we're operating, the issue of disabilities is not an afterthought." - James D. Wolfensohn

"In the year 2010, an estimated 18.9 percent (plus or minus 0.25 percentage points) of non-institutionalized persons aged 21 to 64 years with a disability in the United States received SSI benefits."

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1 : The Dominance of Right-Wing Think-Tanks Over Disability Welfare Reform in Britain : Paul Dodenhoff.
2 : President Trump's Chance to Prove He Really Cares About Disabled Americans : Rafael Lemaitre - Former Director of Public Affairs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Obama..
3 : U.S. Government Just Doesn't Get Americans : Johns Hopkins University.
4 : REV UP Campaign - Making the Disability Vote Count : American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).
5 : Disability is Not a Lifestyle Choice: Why the UN Must Protect Disabled People Within the UK : Paul Dodenhoff.
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